A Rarity Indeed
A RARITY INDEED
Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss gave us wonderful news last weekend when they said their champion mare Zenyatta will race in 2010 as a 6-year-old.
In our time, it is not very common for top-class horses to be in competition at that age.
I thought it would be fun today to take a look back at some other famous mares who did.
Brief reviews of six members of the Hall of Fame follow, with the year mentioned being their 6-year-old campaign.
Imp, who started 171 times, made 31 starts in 1900, compiling a record of 8-10-9 at New York tracks.
She ran in major races like the Metropolitan, Brooklyn and Suburban handicaps, and captured the Advance Stakes at 1¾ miles by 30 lengths.
The awesome sprinter Pan Zareta made 11 starts in 1916, with a record of 7-1-3.
In her career of 151 starts she won under weights as high as 146 pounds.
Princess Doreen won the Greater Chicago Handicap at Hawthorne, and the Independence Handicap at Latonia in 1927, when she compiled a record of 4-1-2 in 12 starts.
Gallorette made 15 starts in 1948, with a record of 4-4-3.
Included among her victories were the Whitney Handicap and Wilson Mile at Saratoga.
Bewitch, in 1951, captured the Vanity Handicap while recording a slate of 2-4-1 in 15 starts.
The last Hall of Famer here is Dahlia, who won only two of 13 starts in 1976.
One of them, though, was the prestigious Hollywood Invitational at 12 furlongs.
Four recent division champions also raced as 6-year-olds.
Track Robbery made 13 starts in 1982, with a slate of 4-3-1 and a victory in the Apple Blossom.
Estrapade made nine starts in 1986, winning the Arlington Million and Oak Tree Invitational en route to a record of 3-2-2.
Gourmet Girl won the Apple Blossom and Vanity in 2001, with a record of 3-1-0 in 6 starts.
Azeri won her third division title in 2004, capturing the Go For Wand at Saratoga, the Apple Blossom and the Spinster with a record of 3-2-0 in 9 starts.
Topping the list of classic hopefuls in action over the weekend was Dryfly, who dominated the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Monday.
Winning for the third time in four starts, he fought off challenges on the backstretch and held on to capture the one-mile event for trainer Lynn Whiting and jockey Calvin Borel.
Whiting and Borel are both winners of the Kentucky Derby.
Owned by track president Charles Cella, Dryfly sent his earnings to $114,840 and was victorious in his first race around two turns.
Dryfly is a son of Jump Start, winner of the Saratoga Special Stakes.
His mother, the Topsider mare Creeksider, is a half-sister to English Derby winner Henbit.
Trainer Nick Zito sent out Ice Box to win an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Monday for his second consecutive victory at two turns.
Owned by Robert V. LaPenta and ridden by J.R. Velazquez, he finished seventh and fifth in two maiden starts last summer at Saratoga.
Ice Box is by the top sire Pul¬pit out of Spice Island, a daughter of Tabasco Cat who captured the Dowager Stakes at Keeneland going 1½ miles.
Aqueduct produced another huge maiden winner on Monday in Tempted to Tapit.
He scored by more than 11 lengths for owner Gainesway Stable and trainer Steve Klesaris.
Dave Cohen was aboard the son of Tapit, who was second to Count Fleet Stakes winner Laus Deo in his last start.
Eightyfiveinafifty broke his maiden by 17 lengths at the Big A on Jan. 9, and both youngsters appear headed for stakes races.
Santa Anita track troubleDespite Rachel Alexandra’s Horse of the Year title and the announcement that Zenyatta would race this year, the biggest news of the week could well concern the synthetic surface at Santa Anita.
Drainage problems have again caused major headaches and the Monday race program was canceled.
Santa Anita may ask the California Horse Racing Board for permission to return to a dirt main track.
The CHRB, in one of the great bonehead political decisions of all time, mandated that state tracks install synthetic surfaces.
This mandate - like most similar political commands — should be dropped.
The idea of Santa Anita as a permanent home for the Breeders’ Cup moves forward if it returns to dirt.
That is very big news indeed.
by Michael Veitch
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